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Jeff Rowe of Syngenta: "We need the recognition of intellectual property"qrcode

Feb. 27, 2020

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Feb. 27, 2020
The president of Syngenta Global Seeds, Jeff Rowe

The recognition of intellectual property in seeds is essential for the industry to achieve solutions to the problems facing agriculture. That message was expressed by the president of Syngenta Global Seeds, Jeff Rowe , in a presentation about the company's new technologies to journalists from Brazil and Argentina.

"Producers are the most aware of the importance of recognizing intellectual property in seeds because they recognize improvements when there is an innovation," he said.

Read in an Argentine code, his words are not accidental: the seed law reform project lost parliamentary status last year and there is no prospect that a change to the norm dating back to 1973 will be discussed again, when agricultural biotechnology does not It had developed.

The low recognition of intellectual property affects crops such as soybeans and wheat , whose grains can be used as seeds with minimal loss of genetic power in the following campaign. Although its own use is protected by law, the industry, both foreign and national, warns that having a poor regulation proliferated the market for the "white bag" (unmarked seeds) . It's like buying a photocopy of a book: the author never receives royalties for his work. In addition to crops of economic importance that have soy and wheat, irregularity reaches legumes, peanuts and cotton, among others.

"We need the recognition of intellectual property so that companies like ours continue to invest," Rowe said in the presentation at the world headquarters of the Syngenta Seed division.

However, until the reform of the law is reached, the international company believes that shorter steps could be taken to control the illegality of the market . "We see it as a process of steps," said Lisandro Galíndez, director of Marketing for Latin America South, Syngenta.

In this regard, he highlighted the progress made by the previous government with a series of decrees that established the obligation to declare the origin of the sown seed. "The multiplier and the breeder would see results if the cross-information provided by the SISA (Simplified Agricultural Information System) is improved," he added.

But if the discussion about how and who pays for seed innovation is among the priorities of international companies, the evolution of the trade dispute between the United States and China, which had soybeans as the main victim, is also a matter of concern.

"It certainly caused damage and it is difficult to predict when the conflict will end, but what we see is that global demand for food continues to rise," Rowe said.

On the world economic outlook, he explained that "it is not possible to predict the level of commodity prices either." In this line, he recalled: "Last year there were climatic problems in the United States that affected production, and one expected a rise in grain prices, which ultimately did not happen." However, he expressed as positive data for production that the growth of world demand for food is maintained.

Digital agriculture

Technological innovation will be crucial to respond to the growth of that demand, they believe in Syngenta. One of those chapters is digital agriculture. "The information was scattered throughout many places and is now gathering to make sense of it," said Justin Welsh, leader of digital agriculture at Syngenta.

According to the specialist, the two main trends that will dominate this change will be the automation of agricultural machinery and predictive analysis. "With the information collected we can analyze what it tells me in the future, what is the best recommendation to work in an environment that we cannot control," he said.

"There is a technology on the way for the next five years that makes it difficult for us to predict what will happen in the long term," said Welsh when asked about possible new disruptions.

One of these innovations is the 5G mobile communications network that allows exponentially multiplying the volume and speed of data transmission. "Here we are seeing how to adopt it in the rural area, because many times we have no signal in the field; it does reach us at home, but when we go to the lot it is lost," he said.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in Spanish. This English summary has been prepared with Google Translate and edited for clarity.


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